Monday, August 26, 2013

On “Moral Obscenity”

Secretary of State Kerry has declared the use of chemical weapons in Syria a “moral obscenity”.
Far be it from us, to question that, or to ask whether the conventional weapons that the Syrian regime used to kill over ten thousand in Hama in 1981 (, with nary a peep from the international community, were equally obscene, or perfectly salonfähig.  For the sake of argument, we fully grant Mr. Kerry his premise.  But then -- What are we to make of this?

"the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern" to Reagan and his aides, because they "were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose." Lang disclosed that more than 60 officers of the Defense Intelligence Agency were secretly providing detailed information on Iranian deployments. He cautioned that the DIA "would have never accepted the use of chemical weapons against civilians, but the use against military objectives was seen as inevitable in the Iraqi struggle for survival." Despite this claim, the Reagan administration did not stop aiding Iraq after receiving reports affirming the use of poison gas on Kurdish civilians.

Speaking purely as a logician, and by no means a moralist, it behoves me to observe that (asperity begins at home), before we speak of bombing Syria, we should speak of bombing the Reagan Administration.

Also, a historico-rhetorical note:   It is an underhanded tug at the heartstrings, to speak of (cue violins) "the Iraqi struggle for survival", when it was  after all  Iraq that launched that war.

[Further material here:  ]

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